Microsoft-owned streaming platform Mixer is officially done.
The Verge interviewed Microsoft gaming head Phil Spencer, who stated that the platform will be folded on July 22. The company is now looking to pin its hopes on a partnership with Facebook Gaming, which injected new life into its own efforts in the realm of video game content. The news was then confirmed on Twitter by Mixer.
Mixer Partners, streamers, and community – today, we’ve got some very big news for you.
While we’ve decided to close the operations side of Mixer, we’re officially partnering with @FacebookGaming and we’re cordially inviting all of you to join.
— Mixer (@WatchMixer) June 22, 2020
This follows months of poor viewership despite a great deal of investment on the part of Microsoft.
“We started pretty far behind, in terms of where Mixer’s monthly active viewers were compared to some of the big players out there. I think the Mixer community is really going to benefit from the broad audience that Facebook has through their properties and the abilities to reach gamers in a very seamless way through the social platform Facebook has,” Spencer said.
Mixer was officially launched in 2016, with Microsoft looking to get into the emerging live streaming space. The service went largely unnoticed behind other social media platforms, particularly industry leader Twitch.
Microsoft made a serious push to compete with other live streaming services in 2019 by signing exclusive broadcast deals with several prominent influencers, most notably Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and Michael “shroud” Grzesiek. Some of these deals were reportedly worth as much as tens of millions of dollars.
This approach never seemed to pay off for Mixer. After an initial bump in viewership from Ninja’s signing, things largely settled back down to normal. Though big name streamers did attract a greater audience than was normal for Mixer, the total viewership at the site didn’t jump in any meaningful way and Twitch’s market share continued to grow despite losing a few big names.
With that experiment being a failure, Microsoft is waving a white flag in regards to its efforts in streaming.
On July 22, Mixer sites and apps will be shut down and traffic will be redirected to Facebook Gaming. Facebook has stated it will honor partner status for Mixer streamers, but this is generally poor news for streamers at all levels.
Twitch’s firm control of the live streaming market long allowed the Amazon-owned website to dictate the livelihoods of streamers. This pressured many into streaming for long lengths of time in order to garner a live subscriber base. Taking a break of even a day or two could have major consequences.
The death of Mixer will lower the number of bidders for big-name streamers and further strengthen Twitch’s control of the market. There is still a bit of competition left with YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming continuing on, but Mixer was still an important player in that game.
I love my community and what we built together on Mixer. I have some decisions to make and will be thinking about you all as I make them.
— Ninja (@Ninja) June 22, 2020
As for Mixer’s top stars, shroud and Ninja, their future is completely unknown as both men have been released from the contracts with Microsoft. Facebook seems content in cutting the pair loose, with Facebook Gaming’s Vivek Sharma flatly telling the Verge that where they go is “up to them and their priorities.”
Neither man has a clear path forward but the pair will likely be negotiating new deals in the near future. It’s possible that one or both could land back on Twitch not long after making grand departures.